's 2019 Horror Write-off:

Spook House

Submitted by Shakara



Yona’s screams bounced off the walls as the skeletal pirate dummy lurched forward on pistons, its electric cackle rattling through its plastic bones. She stepped backward, green-dyed hair on end.

“Haw! You’re such a wuss!” Conall laughed. “It’s just a mannequin!” he paused to breathe, the guffaws shaking his body.

“T’ain’t funny! I’m not used to horror is all!” Yona cleared her throat, feeling her face turn red.

She didn’t know why she was here. It wasn’t even her idea to go into the ghost house. She had wanted to go on the Ferris wheel.

“Oh, you should’ve seen your face! You looked like that Scream painting!” Conall had begun to break into tears from laughter. Yona frowned at him darkly.

“Alright, alright. Let’s keep on going. I think we’re halfway through.” The floor turned from weathered pier boards into purple tiles, clicking under the duo’s feet. Small green diodes lit up as they passed, with the speakers playing eerie moans to simulate ghosts.

“You’d better go ‘n buy me a slushy when this is over, y’know.”

“Red or blue?”
“Purple.” Yona scowled, walking through the dark purple corridor, cobwebs gathered about the ceiling. A red chandelier hung from the ceiling, a bat hanging from it.

“An’ a bunch of those sweet mini-doughnuts.”

The corridor opened up into an old library. Dusty seats and weathered books abound. One of the chairs began to rock, and Conall stepped back before laughing.

“Sorry for intruding, guys. Just want to take a look.”

A book fell from the shelf, almost hitting Yona in the head.

Conall picked up the book, seeing that it was only a small novella. He opened it up, and a raucous shrieking laugh echoed from it, with diodes inside flashing blue in the shape of a demonic face. 

“Light reading.” He snorted. Yona pushed him aside and continued through the haunted house. Now, a dining hall, with skeletons sitting at the tables. Plates of fake food, bowls of soup with glass eyes staring out, dark wines with rubber insects floating within... A gruesome parody of a dinner party. Distorted orchestral music rang through the air. Motorised arms rose and fell, forks and spoons in hand, mimicking eating.

Yona suppressed a smirk as one skeleton broke into laughter, their silverware clattering, forcing Conall to jump.

“You guys have to eat more. You’re only skin and bones!”

“Ugh.” If it was one thing Yona hated more than being bored, it was Conall’s stupid sense of humour. Fluorescent faces pressed against the frosted windows, groaning.

The dining hall ended, replaced with a deep green forest. The path had narrowed, tiles becoming roots and grass. Plastic, of course. A dummy of a witch sat at the side, laughing as she stirred a cauldron of smoking purple water. The mists crawled over the floor and over their shoes. Conall shivered.

“S’dry ice.” Yona said flatly, sticking her tongue out at the false witch.

After another walk of ineffective spooks, of dummies and creepy ambience, the trail narrowed once more, this time with Yona and Conall walking quite close. Now, they were in a black cave, with the ambience of water dripping and bats squeaking, the only light at the furthest end of the tunnel, and small yellow dots. Possibly the eyes of fake bats or bugs.

Cut-outs of rats darted back and forth. Skinny wooden arms snatched out from the sides of the tunnel.

“Wow. That is dark. And claustrophobic!”

“I got eyes.”

If it was any consolation, he did sound scared. Perhaps a little too scared. 

Was there any need for him to hold her hand? She really didn’t like it. Boy, was his hand sweaty, clammy and slick. And cold. She hoped he wasn’t sick. The last thing she needed was the common cold.

Eventually, they made it to the end, blinking in the sunlight. His hand was still quite cold. Or maybe it was the temperature of the ghost house?

“Well, that was a cool haunted house.”

“Whatever.” Yona was too busy looking for the food stand.

“Oh, you wanted a slushy, right?”
“An’ doughnuts.” She sighed, internally berating herself for forgetting her purse. Well, at least Conall would pay. He was good like that.

“Do you want them plain sugared or covered in icing?” He walked to the food stand, rifling for his wallet, fingers poking through discarded receipts and gum packets.

“What? … What’s wrong? Yona?”

Yona didn’t move from where she was. With sharp, hot panic, she realised he was not the one holding her hand.